Posted in Uncategorized on February 15, 2012

One my book blog buddies is giving away a copy of Lorraine Bartlett’s book, The Walled Flower.  This is the 2nd in a series about a woman that inherits a building that houses a lot of crafters (similar to an antique mall but not quite!).  I enjoyed the first book and hope that I might win a copy of this one…but you can enter for a chance to win a copy yourself on Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book

 

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Posted in fiction, Historical, New York, Review on February 14, 2012

I love getting random emails from authors asking me to review a book, especially when the book is something I probably wouldn’t have normally picked up or even known about.  Stretching the mind is a good thing!

Ed Brodow contacted me about reading and reviewing Fixer which is fiction but loosely based on his Grandfather’s life in New York in the early 1900’s and especially dealt with the Jewish population in New York.  He graciously sent me an e-book copy to read.

 

From the slums of the Lower East Side to New Orleans, the Vatican, and the bloody battle of Belleau Wood, Fixer is the spellbinding tale of a fearless politician with a limp and a thirty-eight who is faced with an impossible choice between his career and his integrity.

Harry Leonnoff, uneducated son of Russian Jewish immigrants, overcomes the poverty of the Lower East Side, a crippling bout with polio, and rampant anti-Semitism to become the admired Robin Hood of Depression-Era New York. He helps four mayors get elected, saves nine innocent black men from the electric chair, and comes to the aid of immigrants and the poor. But the enmity of Fiorello La Guardia may be too much even for Harry Leonnoff to fix.

 

 Ed was also kind enough to let me interview him for this review.

SBR:  What made you decide to write a book loosely based on your Grandfather’s life?

EB: My grandfather was the most extraordinary human being I’ve ever met. His story is remarkable and yet no one alive today knows who he was. That has always disturbed me. For about 40 years, I’ve thought about telling the story. Why it came avalanching out when it did — about five years ago — I am not really sure, but better late than never. Incidentally, I would have written a memoir if I’d been in possession of enough facts, but I wasn’t so I made most of it up.

SBR: How long did it take you to research the facts you needed for your novel and then write the novel itself?

EB: I did all the research and wrote the first draft in seven weeks. It just came flying out. Whoosh! Then I spent two years polishing it.

SBR: What is your biggest obstacle when writing and how do you overcome it?

EB:  I am a wonderful story teller but my style is economical (which I’m proud of, by the way). Sometimes I gloss over the details. My solution is to (1) carefully organize my ideas and outline the chapters; (2) do lots of research; and (3) answer the question, “What does the reader want to know?”

SBR:  What actors would you choose to play your main characters in a movie version of your book?

EB: Everyone tells me that Fixer would be a great movie. For Harry Leonnoff, I could cast Daniel Day-Lewis (I have a feeling he would ace it), Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, or Nicholas Cage (he seems to understand that New York ethnic thing). For Fiorello, Jack Nicholson (he’d be great because he is short and has a great sense of humor), Paul Giamatti, John Malkovich, or Christoff Waltz.

SBR: Who are two of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

EB: Jim Harrison and Hemingway, both fabulous story tellers. I’m reading Off to the Side by Jim Harrison.

My Review:

My normal preferred genres of books usually doesn’t include historical novels.  I don’t know why, but maybe the writers didn’t really impress me with their descriptions…or maybe I just got older and my tastes changed (kind of like they do with food).  Needless to say, I truly enjoyed reading Fixer and getting a taste of what it was like in the early 1900’s in New York and what it was like to be an immigrant and Jewish on top of that.  Politics were a whole different game back then and it was fascinating to learn about positions that don’t exist any more, but perhaps they should.

The author takes you through a very historic period in New York and the dark and seedy underbelly of politics.  While the book is fiction, there is some truth to the story.  He weaves a tale that makes you feel like you are there and living in that moment and can imagine what it was like to be an immigrant at the turn of the century.

This story really grabbed me and kept me entranced with the characters and how they overcame adversity for their time.

I definitely recommend this book and give it 2 thumbs up!  If you have a Kindle or other E-book reader it is a steal at $2.99 on Smashwords.

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Posted in mailbox on February 13, 2012

These are some books that I received in my mailbox last week

For personal reading:

29 by Adena Halpern

 

 

Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie

 

Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

For Review:

The Zen Man by Colleen Collins

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Posted in Giveaway, Winners on February 8, 2012

Kelsey D who follows me on Facebook

congrats Kelsey and I will get the book sent out to you this weekend!

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Posted in library, Texas on February 3, 2012

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I have a huge stack of books to read.  I’ve been weeding through my books and donating some to the Texas Masonic Retirement Center.  When you have nearly 400 books in your house and another 500 or so on two different e-readers, it is time to cull that pile down because I will never read all of those books!  Maybe if I could stop working and do nothing but read, but I think I would still have enough books for a few years of that sort of life.  Hmmm, that is sounding better and better by the minute, but I think I would need to win the lottery to enjoy that sort of life.  And how quickly would that get old and I would want to do something else other than read?

So this weekend will be round two of slimming the shelves of my multiple bookcases.  But it takes time because I have to decide do I want to read this book and if yes, can I get it from the library?  And then of course I’ll have to add that to my “wish list” on the library’s website on my account.  Last time I looked there was probably 150 or so books on that list.  Sigh, what is a book lover to do?

In the meantime, here are two books that I recently borrowed from the library through Overdrive and was able to read on my Kindle:

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber  – This is the 12th book in the series about a small town in Washington. 

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise. But someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she’s determined to place in good homes. That’s complication number one. And number two is that her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth’s ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads. As always in life and in Cedar Cove there are surprises, too. More than one family’s going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending!

The other was Only His by Susan Mallery – book three in a trilogy.

Only His, romance novel by bestselling author Susan Mallery

Wedding bells are ringing in Fool’s Gold, but not for Nevada Hendrix. Her triplet sisters are engaged, and even her mother has a more active love life than she does. Determined to make a fresh start, she applies for her dream job, only to discover that her new boss is her first love. Maybe she could overlook the fact that they’ve seen each other naked, but she’ll never forget the way he broke her heart.

Tucker Janack agrees to Nevada’s “business only” ground rules. After all, love is a trap that the construction millionaire has avoided his whole life. But when great business partners turn out to be so much more, every rule gets broken. Will either of them be willing to try again…or will their past get in the way?

 

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Posted in mystery, romance, Texas, Tuesday on February 2, 2012

I had good intentions this year to post at least twice a week….well that worked for the first few weeks of the year and then I don’t know what happened.  Actually I can’t believe it is February already, where did January go? 

So my teaser that I should have posted on Tuesday made it to Thursday, but it is still a day that begins with the letter T! 

Today’s teaser is a new series by author Diane Kelly called Death, Taxes and a French Manicure.  The main character is Tara Holloway, an IRS special agent (in Dallas!) out taking down those tax evaders, like Capone.  She is in Texas and grew up in East Texas (Nacogdoches to be specific) and is a take charge woman that can shoot her way out of a situation if necessary.  But heaven forbid it should mess up her manicure!

This book is a romantic mystery with a LOT of witty dialogue.  Heck the first sentence of the book had me laughing and I knew I was in for a treat.  If you are looking for a new series, definitely check this one out.  The second book in the series Death, Taxes and a Skinny No-Whip Latte is due out March 1st and the 3rd book, Death, Taxes and Extra-Hold Hairspray will be out in July.  I cannot wait!  Oh and I just saw on her website that she will be signing copies of that second book on March 10th in Arlington, I’m planning to be there!

So I’m going to offer 2 teasers – the first is the first sentence in the book.  The other will chosen at random.

Chapter One – Some People Just need shooting

When I was nine, I formed a Silly Putty pecker for my Ken doll knowing he’d have no chance of fulfilling Barbie’s needs given the permanent state of erectile dysfunction with which the toy designers of Mattel had cursed him.

from page 61:

Her eyes moved from my face to the pink Cadillac visible through the glass front of the clinic.  “What is it this time?  Makeover gone horribly awry?”

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